Stage 4: Closing the Enquiry
A Safeguarding Concern/Enquiry can be closed at any of the previous three stages of the procedure.
However, the following points should be used as a checklist to ensure the procedure has been closed effectively and appropriately:
- Anyone involved in the Safeguarding Concern/Enquiry should be advised on how and who to contact if there are further concerns about the adult at risk.
- There should be agreement on how any further concerns will be followed up.
- It is good practice where a care management assessment, Care Programme Approach (CPA), reassessment of care and support, health review, placement review or any other pre-booked review is due to take place following the safeguarding enquiry, for a standard check to be made that there has been no reoccurrence of concerns.
- Closure records should note the reason for this decision and the views of the adult at risk to the proposed closure. The SAM responsible should ensure that all actions have been taken, building in any personalised actions:
- Agreements with the adult at risk to closure.
- Referral for assessment and support.
- Advice and information provided.
- All organisations involved in the enquiry updated and informed.
- Feedback has been provided to the referrer (this is very important).
- Action taken with the person alleged to have caused harm.
- Action taken to support other service users.
- Referral to children and young people made (if necessary).
- Outcomes noted and evaluated by adult at risk.
- Consideration for a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR).
- Any lessons to be learnt.
The SAM may decide to convene a multi-agency meeting at the closure stage so that the Safeguarding Enquiry process can be reviewed, to ensure that the "risk to the adult has been sufficiently reduced, or removed" (although it may also be appropriate for this to 'remain' in some circumstances), before being closed.
This will not always be required, but may be useful in the following circumstances:
- To ensure that in the most complex cases the risk management arrangements that have been put in place are being effective.
- Where multiple agencies (including providers) have been involved in offering support and or protection, and ongoing co-ordination is required.
- In organisational or institutional cases where other adults may also have also been at risk of abuse or neglect. This may include where issues have affected residents of other Local Authorities.
- Where the abuse involved a member of staff/volunteer (position of trust), and this brought into question the safety of other adults, and or the service.
- Where there may have been multiple ongoing enquiries by different organisations or other processes, including by Police and the Pressure Ulcer Panels.
- To consider if other legal or statutory actions or redress are needed. This may include a referral for a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR - s.44 Care Act 2014).
One further outcome from a multi-agency meeting might be to make a referral to the Provider Concerns process if the criteria for this has been reached. This meeting may help to identify signs linked to provider concerns, allowing for early supportive actions to be taken by commissioning authorities in supporting social care providers. A referral for the Provider Concerns Process should be made through the applicable Contracts Officer from LBL/ SEL ICB, or through the Head of Safeguarding and Gateway at LBL.
Provider Concern Process Flowchart Oct 2022
Quality, Safeguarding and Provider Concerns Procedure Oct 2022
Provider Concerns Policy and Procedures - Oct 2022
The adult safeguarding process may be closed but other processes may continue, for example, a disciplinary or professional body investigation. These processes may take some time. Consideration may need to be given to the impact of these on the adult and how this will be monitored. Where there are outstanding criminal investigations and pending court actions, the adult safeguarding process can also be closed providing that the adult is safeguarded.
All closures no matter at what stage are subject to an evaluation of outcomes by the adult at risk. If the adult at risk disagrees with the decision to close safeguarding down their reasons should be fully explored and alternatives offered.
At the close of each enquiry there should be evidence of:
- Enhanced safeguarding practice ensuring that people have an opportunity to discuss the outcomes they wanted at the start of safeguarding activity.
- Follow-up discussions with adults at risk at the end of safeguarding activity to see to what extent their desired outcomes have been met.
- Recording the results by fully completing all of the data recording requirements within the LBL Case Management System (LAS) so this can be used to inform practice, and provide the necessary performance monitoring information for the Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board.